After lots of practice kiting, and a short flight off a nearby bunny hill, Keith took his first flight on a paramotor Sunday evening. It was gratifying to see his hard work pay off.
Keith’s journey started last Wednesday. We focused on kiting and getting a feel for the wing without the motor. Thursday was more kiting. We found some really good wind for it at Biddeford Airport, and the concept of wing control began solidifying in Keith’s muscle memory. Friday was really windy (like, REALLY windy), so we went to the hardware store and improved the hang-test / PPG Simulator. Once we had it really nice, Keith rehearsed the first flight in the simulator– starting the motor, stowing the brakes, getting in the seat, sliding out of the seat, and flaring for landing.
We also did some reserve throw practice using a dummy reserve that Diana (my lovely wife) sewed up while we were playing with the simulator. I made a little infographic with the results:
Saturday morning Keith got his first gliding flight on a gopher-hole-wracked hill near Biddeford. He demonstrated gentle brake inputs and a cool head. Later that afternoon, we went to the field with several local pilots and kited until the wind calmed down enough to fly. Keith was rocking the inflations. In particular, he was doing well with reverse inflations (facing the wing to inflate it, then turning around and running with it). Toward the end of the evening, we did some motor-on “taxiing” inflations.
Sunday morning, we drove all around looking for a place to kite. It was just too windy near the coast. Even the small Dudek Zakospeed 16 was yanking us around. Sunday evening, though… You couldn’t ask for better weather for a first solo! The sky was overcast, blocking any thermal turbulence. The breeze from the sea was still blowing, but dropping in strength steadily. Keith had a generous 5mph headwind to help with his forward inflation launches, which he nailed twice in a row! I’m proud! We had to stop the evening after 2 flights as the sun set.
Monday was rainy, but Tuesday afternoon yielded beautiful flying. Keith flew another 4 times, nailing his first attempt at a reverse launch. More flying on Wednesday, and then more rain on Thursday. We called it a week as Memorial Day weekend was upon us.
I start up another cycle of paramotor training this weekend. What are you waiting for? come on up to Maine for some sweet flights!